The reality is that you can be turned away from a bank account unless you avoid ChexSystems, a reporting agency that collects negative information. Many financial institutions (FI) turn to ChexSystems to decide whether or not to accept the new customer. Consumers can receive a negative report for a variety of reasons. For instance, if you or the FI closed a previous checking account while you still owed overdraft fees, a negative report will be generated and will remain in the system for five years.
By following these simple tips, you can avoid ChexSystems and effectively manage your checking account.
- Know your account balance. Sounds self explanatory, right? But no. Keep on top of the money you have in your account by balancing your checkbook and going online to check your account history. Don't forget ATM and debit purchases. It may help to have a specific day that you look over account information.
- Review your monthly bank statement every single month. It only takes a minute to compare your statement with your recordkeeping to avoid mistakes. Unity One CU offers free electronic statements that get to you 3-5 days earlier than paper statements. Log in to home banking, go to e-services and sign up.
- Be clear on fees. While credit union fees are generally less severe than banks, you still need to stay on top of your credit union's fee structure and be somewhat familiar. Ask a teller or call in to the member contact center if you have questions or to ask about a privilege pay option.
- Do not float checks. Floating is the time delay between when a check is deposited or written and when the money is withdrawn from your account. Float time is almost becoming obsolete due to enhanced electronic processing which makes withdrawal instant, in some cases. Bottom line - avoid spending money that you don't have.